Is a Moratorium on Common Core Testing a Violation of Federal Law? There is Ample Evidence That It is Not.

The New York State Board of Regents convened on Monday morning promptly at 9 am to begin debate on a 37-page Task Force Report responding to criticism of the implementation of the Common Core. Regent Bendit complained, the Report was posted at 9 pm Sunday night, he had not had time to read it and can the approval be delayed? Nope, responded Task Force chair Regent Norwood.

Commissioner King and Regent Norwood plowed through the 19 recommendations and tried to respond to question after question from the Board members.

Regent Cashin made a motion to delay the implementation for two years, a moratorium, and convene New York State practitioners to review the many complaints about elements of the Common Core.

Commissioner King objected – federal law prohibited any moratorium on Common Core testing.

The commissioner is in error.

1. This letter on college and career ready flexibility (ED’s version of the moratorium) says:

“States that have received a Race to the Top grant or flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) are responsible for working with districts to develop systems to evaluate and support principals and teachers based on multiple measures, including student growth. States have committed to different deadlines to implement these systems: some are implementing now; others will begin over the coming years. Given the move to college- and career-ready standards, the dramatic changes in curricula that teachers and principals are now starting to teach, and the transition to new assessments aligned to those standards, the Department will consider, on a state-by-state basis, allowing states up to one additional year before using their new evaluation systems to inform personnel determinations.”

It is here: (

A related fact sheet on college and career ready flexibility says on page 4 that RTTT grants have to be separately amended: (

Other docs related to this flexibility indicate that both RTTT and the ESEA waiver can be amended: (

2. This letter on waiver renewals says:

“Additionally, an SEA may wish to make additional amendments to its request to support its continuous improvement efforts. Consistent with the existing amendment process, an SEA will need to consult with stakeholders in the State regarding any changes to its approved ESEA flexibility request.”


3. Kentucky (a 3rd round RTTT winner) applied for and received approval to “have until the 2015–2016 school year (SY) to use the results of their teacher and principal evaluation and support systems that meet the requirements of ESEA flexibility to inform personnel decisions. Additionally, Kentucky requests to amend the timeline for integrating its teacher and principal evaluation and support systems into its State accountability system to SY 2015–2016 to coincide with LEAs’ use of evaluation results to inform personnel decisions.”

Letter here: (

Whether the commissioner is simply unaware of the actual policies or dissembling is irrelevant – his 37-page, nineteen point report, was an opportunity to quell the bubbling parent revolution across the state. The nineteen points attempt to assuage advocates for Students with Disabilities (SWD) and English Language Learners, delay full implementation for years and buy-in the teacher union by adding a fillip, easing the teacher evaluation law, and agreeing to review the standards, unfortunately by the folk who wrote the standards, he failed to assuage anyone.

The policy that would have mollified parents and legislators – to delay the implementation, calling for a moratorium on testing, was denied.

Within hours the governor trashed the report,

“Today’s recommendations are another in a series of missteps by the Board of Regents that suggests the time has come to seriously reexamine its capacity and performance. These recommendations are simply too little, too late for our parents and students.

“Common Core is the right goal and direction as it is vital that we have a real set of standards for our students and a meaningful teacher evaluation system. However, Common Core’s implementation in New York has been flawed and mismanaged from the start …

“I have created a commission to thoroughly examine how we can address these issues. The commission has started its work and we should await their recommendations so that we can find a legislative solution this session to solve these problems.”

The leader of the Republicans in the Senate rapped the implementation.

“The whole implementation has been disaster,” Skelos, R-Nassau County, told The Capitol Pressroom. “It’s almost been as bad as Obamacare.”

John Flanagan (R), chair of the Senate Education Committee, after the release of the report, called “moratorium legislation a distinct possibility.”

In Henry V Shakespeare wrote,

For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:

That’s right; the game is afoot. Angry voters are looking for both a hero and a rogue, a hero who can rescue their children from the clutches of the Common Core and a rogue who they can punish at the polls.

The Republicans will try and pin the “rogue” image on the governor while the governor appeals to voters across the state and paints the members, the anonymous members of the Board of Regents as rogues.

Truly, the game is afoot.

BTW, are the upcoming tests really unfair? You decide:

Try out sample questions – click “Try sample questions” and click “high school” in the middle of the page


3 responses to “Is a Moratorium on Common Core Testing a Violation of Federal Law? There is Ample Evidence That It is Not.

  1. I think The Gov has this one right..For too many years The NYS Bd of Regents has conducted itself as an exhaulted pinnacle of educational leadership, when in fact it is not. Skeolo’s comparison of Common Core to ObamaCare is right on point. The difference being that the latter will take years to repair and fine tune its valid points, while the former hasnt yet set in, and its time to stop it dead in its tracks.As much as I respect the work of Comm King this past year, he is totally wrong about having to implement Common Core at “all costs” now. There are school districts all over NYS who are simply paying no attention to it. College recruiters from top tier level colleges have openly said that the net effect of common core on instructional delivery throughout the state will result in a discounting of NYS college applicants grades. A bi product to all of this will be an ever booming underground economy for College SAT tutoring. If all that isnt enough, lets talk about parent partnering, as so many are pleased to do when it suits them. More and more urban school districts are gaining increasing numbers of ethnic minority students and their parents. There are countless tales of disconnect when many of these parents sttend open school conferences, and PTA meetings. When a teacher sits down to confer with a parent of Uzbekistan heritage and begins that conference with an explanation of how that child’s progress aligns with…..and yadayadayada, what does that parent go home thinking? ITs enuff already, Common Core should be taken to the cemetary, and set down alongside Frameworks, Gates, and Son of Gates. If anything, lets re-tool our varuious curriculum contents, and expand them. Lets go back to enrichment, hands on and realia. But lets have our teachers deliver instruction that is natural, communicable and sensible.!


  2. I agree with having a moratorium on the common core curriculum. I noticed that the one regent that recommended just this was Regent Cashin. Did she have any other recommendations for solving the problems ?


  3. .Any change in curriculum must begin with teaching the teacher… Proceed to teaching the students… And complete the process through testing. And the development of test-taking support materials. The process has be a bit cart-before –horse. Why not back it up… and make better preparations for the journey?


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